Are you ready for some football!
The NFL has returned after a long offseason, so grab your popcorn, grab your chips and salsa, grab your buddies and grab a seat in front of the TV and get ready for some hard-hitting NFL action. This upcoming season will bring plenty of story lines: Can Tom Brady and the Patriots make due without tight end Aaron Hernandez? Can San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick continue last postseason's success and lead the 49ers to another Super bowl win? Will sophomore quarterbacks Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson avoid a sophomore slump? Can Calvin "Megatron" Johnson and Adrian "AP" Peterson build on their exceptional seasons? There's only one way to find out.
Ravens at Broncos
The Ravens will adjust to all their changes during the offseason, but not as soon as week one. I like the Broncos in a revenge game.
I have to go with the Ravens in this one. Coming off a championship year and playing their first game without Ray Lewis, I think they will have too much to prove to lose.
Not only do the Broncos benefit the home crowd cheering them on and the return of 2012 comeback player of the year Peyton Manning, but they also had both a top 5 offense and defense last year.
Though they're fully reloaded on defense with the additions of players like Elvis Dumervil, Michael Huff, and some talented rookies, the Ravens still have questions on offense like who's catching passes other than Torrey Smith. And despite Joe Flacco's stellar playoff run, I still don't completely trust him, especially now with the dearth of weapons to throw to. The Broncos are just a more complete team.
Patriots at Bills
The bills might start undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel in this game. Adding fuel to a Patriot fire on Sunday.
The Bills stand no chance. Even with the Patriots crappy preseason and the whole Aaron Hernandez fiasco the patriots still have Tom Brady and the coaching prowess of Bill Belicheck.
When Jeff Tuel is in the running to be your starting quarterback you clearly will never beat the Pats.
This is probably the easiest and safest pick of week one. Even with their top playmakers either hurt, on another team, or in jail, the Patriots still have Tom Brady. The defense is still a question mark, but the Bills offense isn't very scary outside of C.J. Spiller.
Bengals at Bears
This game will likely come down to the running game, and I like Matt Forte to rack up yards in a bears victory.
This game is an enigma. Both teams are mediocre and I think they will stay that way this season. I'm picking the Bengals because with another year of experience under his belt, Andy Dalton will impress.
This will probably be a close one but with the fans roaring at Soldier Field I think a revamped offense under new coach Marc Trestman will be able to put up enough points in its first showing south of the border.
These two teams are pretty evenly matched in my eyes, so this game is a coin toss. What makes me give the Bengals a slight edge is their defensive line. The Bengals' front four, starring Geno Atkins, is probably the best in the league, and they will wreak havoc on a restructured, yet untested, offensive line
Dolphins at Browns
Give me Trent Richardson against a soft Dolphins rush defense. The Browns' defense is very underrated as well. Give me the Browns in an upset.
Cleveland can't handle the Dolphins. After an alright season last year I believe the Dolphins will be a strong team this year.
Neither of these teams will get that many more wins but I think the addition of Mike Wallace could open up the passing and running games for Miami.
Once again, the more complete team wins. The hapless Browns are improving, but they're still a few years away from being a serious contender week in and week out. The Dolphins spent a lot of money and brought in several big names in free agency, and I expect these new signings to only improve the second best team in the AFC East.
Falcons at Saints
I question whether the Falcons are ready to handle the Saints offense with Sean Payton back on the sidelines. The Saints are flying severely under the radar this preseason.
With Matt "Matty Ice" Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White, Atlanta has too much firepower over Drew Brees and the Saints even though Sean Peyton is back coaching on the sidelines. This one will be a thriller.
Perhaps a bit of upset but the calming influence and coaching genius of Sean Payton were priceless traits lost last year. The superdome will be a tough place for any team to grab a win.
This matchup isn't as complicated as it seems. The Falcons bring back pretty much everyone from last year's playoff run, and added Stephen Jackson to boost the running game. The defense is solid enough not to be a liability. As for the Saints, don't be fooled by the return of head coach Sean Payton: that defense was still one of the worst ever last year.
Buccaneers at Jets
Although the Jets are awful and Doug Martin will explode, I do not trust Josh Freeman and Jets QB Geno Smith should provide a spark for the hometown Jets.
The New York Jets do not have a quarterback. Tampa bay had a breakout season last year and they will only expand on their success this year.
The Bucs' defense got a whole lot better when they took Derelle Revis from the Jets. The Jets are also unsure where to go with their quarterbacks.
The Jets just suck.
Titans at Steelers
Although Steelers' RB, Le'Veon Bell is injured, the Steelers will profit from poor quarterback play from Tennessee to get a victory in a hard- fought week one.
Pittsburgh is too good for Tennessee. With Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown on offense there will be no mercy for Tennessee
Despite the loss of Le'veon Bell to injury, Big Ben and the Steelers should be able to beat an average Tennessee team at home.
I think this is an upset. The Steelers are aging on defense and have few playmakers on offense, while the Titans have improved their offensive line, which will help Chris Johnson and, ultimately, their young quarterback.
Vikings at Lions
Along with RB, Adrian Peterson, the Vikings added WR Greg Jennings to make an underestimated passing attack that will be enough to withstand the Lions strong offense.
Megatron will destroy the Minnesota backfield. Even with AP on the Minnesota offense, Stafford and Megatron are too much to handle.
With newly added weapon that is Reggie Bush in the backfield the trio of Bush, Stafford and Megatron should be enough to push past AP and the Vikings.
First and foremost, I have Matt Stafford on my fantasy football team, so there's reason number one. But on a more serious note, the Lions offense is too explosive, and the Vikings defense won't be able to slow them down enough in order for their own offense to catch up. The Lions' defense should at least be halfway decent, but Adrian Peterson should run all over them. However, it won't be enough.
Raiders at Colts
I can say nothing good about Oakland, so I'm predicting the Colts to win easily.
After an emotional season last year the Colts will start this year off on a high note against a recently always crappy opponent in Oakland.
Andrew Luck is coming off of a sensational rookie season and the Raiders are yet to name a starting quarterback.
This one is simple. The Raiders are terrible. The Colts have a young, star quarterback. Darren McFadden will probably get hurt again. The Colts are significantly better.
Seahawks at Panthers
With the emergence of QB, Russell Wilson, the Seahawks will score more points than the Panthers in an offensive shootout.
With Russel Wilson facing Cam Newton the young guns will battle it out but I predict that Seattle will come out on the winning side. Although Carolina had a good season last year the defense will not be able to match the offense created by Wilson and the great running of the Seahawks.
Emerging star Russell Wilson and first team all pro Marshawn Lynch should be able to put up enough points to beat the mediocre Panthers squad.
I really wanted to pick the Panthers here, but they're just too much of an up and down team. The Seahawks will have to travel across the country for a 1 pm eastern (10 am pacific) time kick off, but I think they're good enough defensively to overcome that if their offense gets off to a slow start.
Chiefs at Jaguars
Many underestimate how much the addition of Head Coach Andy Reid will positively affect the Chiefs, I predict them to beat a horrid Jaguars squad.
Both teams had very disappointing seasons last year and against the always terrible team of Jacksonville, Kansas City will grab the first win of their season.
New coach Andy Reid and new quarterback Alex Smith should be able to provide stability and help second team all pro Jamaal Charles flourish coming out of the backfield.
The Jaguars just have so little talent. The Chiefs underachieved last year and should be better.
Cardinals at Rams
The Rams added many weapons in the passing game such as WR, Ta'von Austin, and TE, Jared Cook, they will help the Rams put up enough points to win this game.
This is another iffy game. Both teams have not been very good in the last couple of years but with Sam Bradford still leading the team I don't think that the Rams will lose.
New coach Bruce Arians should help the offense start to put up points, which will be enough against the Stephen Jackson-less Rams.
I believe in the Rams this year. The defense, which tied for second in sacks last year, is underrated, and Sam Bradford has a plethora of weapons to throw to. Once again, I'm going with the more talented team.
Packers at 49ers
During last year's playoffs the 49ers beat the Packers 45-31. The Packers did not do enough to improve their defense, so I expect a similar result in week one.
The 49ers' offense is just too potent. With a highly anticipated first game featuring star quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Aaron Rodgers the score will be high. But the difference in the teams is that the 49ers are also as good on defense as on offense so I will have to say that the 49eres will edge out the Packers.
This potential NFC championship preview will be decided by the 49ers' ability to stop Rodgers and company at a much higher rate than Dom Capers' crew can stop Kaepernick.
The Packers might finally have a running game with the addition of rookie Eddie Lacey, and Aaron Rodgers will be able to victimize a 49ers secondary that struggled against the pass last year.
Giants at Cowboys
The Giants have weaknesses at Defensive Back. So I expect Cowboys' QB, Tony Romo to do many things with his great receiving corps this week, resulting in a week one win.
The Giants are the streakiest team that exists but they face a Cowboy team with a subpar quarterback in Tony Romo. I think the G-men defense will be able to be the deciding factor in winning the game for New York.
With Victor Cruz in the lineup, Eli and the Giants' offense should be able to put enough on the board to come out of Jerry's World with a win.
Honestly, this game is a toss up, too. When these two teams play, it's normally a good, close game that could go either way. I'm going with the Cowboys because they seem to have fewer questions on defense, and because the Giants love getting off to a slow start.
Eagles at Redskins
It's hard to go against the home-town Skins but it's difficult to expect RGIII to start a resurgent season in his first game action since tearing his ACL, and LCL in January.
Maybe it's because I live in DC but I have a feeling about this one. With the return of RGIII and excitement from the fan base I believe that the Skins will be able to win this game.
RGIII's return will have the crowd rocking and the dynamic young QB should overpower the Eagles' defense.
RGIII is back, and the Eagles are unpredictable.
Texans at Chargers
A strong Texan defense will force inconsistent Chargers' QB Philip Rivers to struggle. Texans' RB Arian Foster will help fuel a Texan victory.
After a few solid seasons, the Texans are turning into a consistently good team. Especially going against a San Diego team with a quarterback in P-riv who throws interceptions almost every game I can't see San Diego winning it.
Houston has a loaded offense with Arian Foster and a loaded defense with JJ Watt. They'll make short work of San Diego.
The Chargers are seemingly a mess all over the depth chart. The Texans aren't.
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